Travel Advisory - Coronavirus COVID-19

Important information every cruise passenger needs to know about the Coronavirus and what protocols the cruise lines have for passengers.

 

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Cruising and the Coronavirus

  

CLIA Statement on the Coronavirus and new protocols for passengers

 

Sample Health Declaration Questionnaire

 
   
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Latest News

 

3/26/2020

CDC Level 3 Warning

The CDC recommends travelers defer all cruise travel worldwide. Passengers with plans to travel by cruise ship should contact their cruise line companies directly for further information and continue to monitor the Travel.state.gov website and see the latest information from the CDC.  Downloadable PDF card to take with you while you travel. 

Note: Cruise lines have suspended operations until May 2020.

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/coronavirus-cruise-ship

 

3/13/2020

Cruise industry officially on pause for 30-days

CLIA Announces Voluntary Suspension in U.S. Cruise Operations

Washington, DC (13 March 2020) — CLIA ocean-going cruise lines will be voluntarily and temporarily suspending cruise ship operations from U.S. ports of call for 30 days as public health officials and the U.S. Government continue to address COVID-19. Click here to read the full press release from CLIA.

 

3/12/2020

Princess suspends all cruise operations effective immediately

Suspension Dates:  March 12, 2020 through May 10, 2020

 

Below is the statement from Princess Cruises

SANTA CLARITA, Calif (March 12, 2020)

In proactive response to the unpredictable circumstances evolving from the global spread of COVID-19 and in an abundance of caution, Princess Cruises announced that it will voluntarily pause global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months (60 days), impacting voyages departing March 12 to May 10.

Those currently onboard a cruise that will end in the next five days will continue to sail as expected through the end of the itinerary so that onward travel arrangements are not disrupted. Current voyages that are underway and extend beyond March 17 will be ended at the most convenient location for guests, factoring in operational requirements. Princess will do everything possible to return each guest home with the greatest amount of care possible. During this time, our operations and medical teams across the fleet will remain vigilant in their care and service for guests and crew onboard. 
 
For those who are impacted by this business decision, Princess is offering guests the opportunity to transfer 100% of the money paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice. To add a bonus incentive for guests to accept this offer, the company will add an additional generous future cruise credit benefit which can be applied to the cruise fare or onboard expenses. In addition, Princess will honor this offer for those guests who had made final payment and cancelled their booking on or after February 4, 2020. The future cruise credit can be used on any voyage departing through May 1, 2022.   
 
Princess will protect travel advisor commissions on bookings for cancelled cruises that were paid in full and for the total amount of the future cruise credits, in recognition of the critical role they play in the cruise line’s business and success. 
 
If the future cruise credit option does not work for some guests, they will be able to complete an electronic form on Princess.com to request a cash refund. Princess asks guests not to call the Reservation Call Center due to the possibility of high call volumes and the potential of long on-hold wait times due to this unprecedented action. Guests and their travel advisors will be sent communications on how to manage cancellations and desired compensation. Information and instructions for requesting a refund are available online at Princess.com

 

3/9/2020

The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.

- Imported cases in travelers
- Cases among close contacts of a known case
- Community-acquired cases where the source of the infection is unknown.

3/8/2020 - Warning for Cruise Passengers

The US State Department has issued a travel warning urging US citizens to avoid traveling on cruise ships.

"U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.  CDC notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment. In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures that have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking.  In some cases, local authorities have permitted disembarkation but subjected passengers to local quarantine procedures.  While the U.S. government has evacuated some cruise ship passengers in recent weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.  
This is a fluid situation.  CDC notes that older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease.  This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.  Passengers with plans to travel by cruise ship should contact their cruise line companies directly for further information and continue to monitor the Travel.state.gov website and see the latest information from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/index.html. "

Click on this link to view the US Department of State travel advisory.

 


 

03/07/2020

Over the past 24-hours, many of the cruise lines including Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Norwegian Cruise Line, and Carnival Cruise Line, have issued new protocols to screen passengers for a fever. A fever is considered a body temperature greater than 100.4 F (38 C).

Additional pre-boarding screening of all guests and crew, including temperature checks, who have visited areas with community spread of COVID-19 and for individuals reporting illness is mandatory.

Cruise lines are offering passengers a full refund if they are denied boarding due to the travel restrictions. Contact your travel provider for more information about their refund policy.

 

All Members of CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) have implemented strict protocol in response to the coronavirus pandemic:

- Deny boarding to all persons who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in South Korea, Iran, China, including Hong Kong and Macau, and any municipality in Italy subject to lockdown (quarantine) measures by the Italian Government, as designated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, within 14 days prior to embarkation.

 - Conduct illness screening for all persons who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in any destinations listed on the U.S. CDC “Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel” page within 14 days before embarkation. Illness screening includes symptom history checks for fever, cough and difficulty breathing in the 14 days before embarkation and taking of temperature.

- Deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days prior to embarkation, have had contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who are currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.

- Conduct pre-boarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.


 

 Source: CLIA 03/05/2020.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoVSARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV.  All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.
Early on, many of the patients at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread was subsequently reported outside Hubei and in countries outside China, including in the United States.

On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern."

Some international destinations now have apparent community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19, including in some parts of the United States. Community spread means some people have been infected and it is not known how or where they became exposed. Learn what is known about the spread of this newly emerged coronaviruses.

On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19.

What are symptoms?

Both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV have been known to cause severe illness in people. The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully understood. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

- Fever
- Cough
- Shortness of breath

The above information is taken directly from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 03/05/2020. Learn more about the symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Note from the CDC: There are ongoing investigations to learn more. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

Why do cruise ships seem prone to coronavirus?

When you have a virus that’s hard to kill, lives on multiple surfaces, and can be transmitted in different ways, plus add thousands of people in an confined space like a cruise ship, it’s easy to see why the coronavirus can quickly spread. Cruise lines also follow stringent reporting laws and must answer to the CDC in the event of a suspected outbreak.

How do cruise lines respond to coronavirus?

If an outbreak is suspected on a cruise ship, the cruise line first will remind passengers to take steps to prevent contracting the illness, like hand washing. Hand sanitizers may be given out. Expect to see frequently touched areas regularly sanitized. “Cleaning measures go as far as disinfecting the Scrabble game tiles, poker chips and anything that a passenger might touch,” said David Pelkin, spokesperson for Cruise Lines International Association, a group representing cruise lines and travel agents.

Proper hand washing is key in stopping the virus from spreading. Expect to hear frequently from crew via announcements, the daily bulletin, and around the ship about proper hygiene practices. Areas where people have been sick are immediately sanitized.

Food service procedures change in the event of an outbreak. Staff are assigned to the buffet area to serve passengers. Condiment containers disappear from tables and drinks will need to be finished in the area they were served--no grabbing wine from one bar and taking it to dinner in the dining room. Anyone handling food will wear plastic gloves.

Ill passengers or crew will be asked to remain in their cabins until symptoms dissipate to reduce chances to spreading the virus. This procedure is endorsed by the CDC. Passengers still have access to room service.

In extreme cases, additional medical personnel will board the ship. The CDC typically sends an official to oversee sanitization and onboard measures to prevent the virus' spread. Cruise lines can delay the following cruise to send more time thoroughly disinfecting a vessel.

What can you do to minimize spread?

If an symptoms are reported onboard your cruise ship, make sure to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. The CDC recommends hand washing for 20 seconds or longer before and after eating, smoking, or using the restroom. Anytime your hands are dirty, they should be washed. Avoid touching your face and using shared utensils.

If someone is sick near you, leave the area immediately. Remember that coronavirus can be transmitted through the air.

Should you begin experiencing gastrointestinal distress while onboard, inform medical personnel immediately and stay in your cabin. Be considerate of others: reducing the amount of contact you have with people can help contain the illness.

Most importantly, if you are sick before your cruise, call the cruise line. Don’t ruin your vacation and someone else’s. Cruise lines want their guests to enjoy their vacation experience and can work with you to find alternative arrangements.

Who else experiences coronavirus outbreaks?

Cruise lines are not the only institutions to experience coronavirus outbreaks; university dormitories, medical facilities, nursing homes, military barracks, and any place people gather in high numbers all are prone to experiencing coronavirus. Since health officials like the CDC track illnesses on cruise ships so closely, outbreaks are found and more reported more quickly than on land.

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CDC Coronavirus Home

Cruise Ship Outbreak Updates